Caitlan McLerran

United States

Feminism and It's Misconceptions

October 15, 2018

Society defines feminism as “the idea that women should have more rights than men.” The dictionary defines feminism, though, as “a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.” Media has single-handedly changed the definition of feminism and created dozens of new words to define different types of feminism such as white feminism, feminazi and true feminism as a way to stabilize judgmental thoughts. There’s only one feminism in my eyes. It’s the same feminism my grandparents were first introduced to and the same feminism society shuns. In today’s world feminism is an ‘f’ word, it’s something nobody wants to be, and I believe that needs to change. 
Feminism was first used in the early 1900s when primarily women felt as though they deserved more rights. As time passed the word now covers areas other than politics such as personal issues and body image. In the mid to late 1900s, the social standard was that men went out and worked while women stayed home to take care of the children and clean. My grandfather lived to this standard his entire life, and like many others had a hard time when introduced to the idea of changing it. Though feminism over time was implicated into society with the women’s suffrage movement, it never seems to have stuck. The definition continues to shift because any new idea that is brought upon society creates yet another conflict and the cycle is inevitable. These generational shifts are possibly the reason for so many new words, though the definition has never changed. Feminism is still equality of the sexes.
In recent years, media has used the term ‘equalitarianism’, a term primarily used for equality as a whole, to define their feminist values. The word is used to allow someone to claim they want equality of the sexes without having to use the word ‘feminist’. Although this is still correct, labeling oneself as a feminist is supposed to mean one wants equality between the sexes. This should apply to men and women, as the word intends, though the definition has turned rotten. 
White feminism, feminazi, and true feminism are all sub terms used to define feminism and make it more complicated than it truly needs to be. True feminism is simply put as a feminist who wants equality of the sexes. So, yes, there’s another form of feminism used to describe feminism. Feminazi is used to describe a feminist who’s a little bit too feminist for society’s standards. White feminism is a term used for white women, because now equality of the sexes is race driven. These terms in my eyes make feminism confusing, and put the big ‘f’ word label on it. Feminism is simple, it means equality of the sexes, and that’s all it should mean. 
We all define certain words based on what we experience. What we see in everyday life and what we believe needs to change. Feminism to me means to be able to wear what I want without judgement. For the showing of my shoulders to no longer be capable of infringing on my education. To be able to walk down the street without fear of getting hurt, and not having to pretend to be on the phone so a stranger leaves me alone. For men to have the ability to show emotion without being seen as weak. To give my male friends the confidence to tell me how something makes them feel. To have equal pay and perhaps spend less on items because they are pink. For men to have the ability to want all the same for themselves without being judged for it. Feminism is equality between the sexes and for me that definition reaches out to all races and to all issues such as pay, dress, body image, and even displays of emotion. 
Feminism isn’t about women getting revenge on men by beating them down, it’s about being equal to one another. It’s not a battle of race or who struggles more than others. It’s acknowledging our history, remembering the definition, and living it. It’s understanding that underneath our skin is still bones, muscle, and beating hearts and knowing that we will always be human-kind. We are never above each other, never below each other, and should always be beside each other. 


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